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Open source vs Microsoft vs public domain

 
 
Malcolm McLean
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      01-02-2011
On Jan 2, 2:40*pm, Nick Keighley <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:
>
> I do. [Use Open Office] I won't pay for Word for home use.
>

I do too. I also used it for my PhD thesis, but for a different
reason, which was that all the scientific software ran under Linux. I
think that was a mistake - I ended up making all the colour figures as
separate PDFs and interleaving them, which was a terrible job. Word
will handle complex structured documents a lot better.

However I wrote my novel (100,000 words, it's about a boarding school
set in a monastery in the Hebrides) using Open Office. A novel has
almost no structure in the typographical sense, other than a few
italics, bolds for chapter headings, and page breaks at chapter ends.
For that, Open Office was fine. It also saves as a PDF, which means I
can send non-editable versions to people, which is handy, because you
don't want more than one copy under edit at any one time.


 
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Chris H
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      01-03-2011
In message <(E-Mail Removed)
..com>, Tom St Denis <(E-Mail Removed)> writes
>On Dec 21, 2:51*am, Malcolm McLean <(E-Mail Removed)>
>wrote:
>> Personally I've got mixed feeling about Open Source. It's nice to have
>> software for free. On the other hand, the Microsoft monopoly meant
>> that you generally had software of high quality.

>
>I was with you, feeling the vibe, digging your sentiment, until this
>last sentence. MSFT software is high quality? Since when?


Well there is another way of looking at this... due to MS giving 90% of
the world a single platform ie windows. It means that Sw is generally
developed for one (or two) targets. IE Windows or MAC or some times
Linux and Unix

Before this there were many OS and software was comparatively far more
expensive. So like it or not Windows created a de-facto desk top
standard and API for most of the worlds developers.

--
\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\
\/\/\/\/\ Chris Hills Staffs England /\/\/\/\/
\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/



 
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Seebs
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      01-03-2011
On 2011-01-03, Chris H <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Before this there were many OS and software was comparatively far more
> expensive. So like it or not Windows created a de-facto desk top
> standard and API for most of the worlds developers.


Several consecutive standards and APIs, *all of which sucked*.

Consider the amount of standardized working around of the 640k limit that
was done. That came to many millions of developer hours, *all completely
wasted due to stupidity*. Had Microsoft never existed, and the previous
state of affairs continued, we would have been much better off. Had someone
remotely competent at a technical level (rather than a marketing level) been
the one to provide the de-facto desk top standard, we would all be much,
much, much, better off.

If you were to compare our computing experience to basically any alternative
not involving Microsoft, people would call ours "catastrophic", and reasonably
so.

-s
--
Copyright 2010, all wrongs reversed. Peter Seebach / http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)
http://www.seebs.net/log/ <-- lawsuits, religion, and funny pictures
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Game_(Scientology) <-- get educated!
I am not speaking for my employer, although they do rent some of my opinions.
 
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Malcolm McLean
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      01-03-2011
On Jan 3, 9:22*pm, Seebs <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> Consider the amount of standardized working around of the 640k limit that
> was done. *That came to many millions of developer hours, *all completely
> wasted due to stupidity*. *Had Microsoft never existed, and the previous
> state of affairs continued, we would have been much better off. *Had someone
> remotely competent at a technical level (rather than a marketing level) been
> the one to provide the de-facto desk top standard, we would all be much,
> much, much, better off.
>

I've used Windows and I've used X.

Unix provides a far far nicer environment for commandline tools.
However end-users
don't like the commandline.

X has its niggles and Windows has its niggles, but I wouldn't like to
say which is worse. I think the truth is that, just as the first cars
broke down all the time, weren't streamlined, killed pedestrians and
passengers in low-speed crashes because of the lack of rounding, and
so on, so the first computer windowing systems are full of
undesireable features. X was designed to run on separate servers and
clients, for instance, but in fact almost no-one uses it that way.
It's just too slow, and technology has developed in a way the
designers didn't expect. It's easy to criticise, harder to do it
yourself.


 
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Seebs
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      01-03-2011
On 2011-01-03, Malcolm McLean <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Unix provides a far far nicer environment for commandline tools.
> However end-users
> don't like the commandline.


Irrelevant.

> X has its niggles and Windows has its niggles, but I wouldn't like to
> say which is worse.


I would. One of them was designed from the ground up to not only *allow*
people to write viruses and malware, but to *require* people to develop
that technology in order to accomplish anything. That's worse.

Imagine a language just like C, except in which file I/O could *only*
be done by writing code which overran buffers. That language would have
been a good fit for Windows.

-s
--
Copyright 2010, all wrongs reversed. Peter Seebach / (E-Mail Removed)
http://www.seebs.net/log/ <-- lawsuits, religion, and funny pictures
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Game_(Scientology) <-- get educated!
I am not speaking for my employer, although they do rent some of my opinions.
 
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BartC
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      01-03-2011


"Seebs" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> On 2011-01-03, Chris H <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> Before this there were many OS and software was comparatively far more
>> expensive. So like it or not Windows created a de-facto desk top
>> standard and API for most of the worlds developers.

>
> Several consecutive standards and APIs, *all of which sucked*.
>
> Consider the amount of standardized working around of the 640k limit that
> was done. That came to many millions of developer hours, *all completely
> wasted due to stupidity*.


Not all Microsoft's fault.

Someone at Intel decided to shift a segment address left 4 bits before
adding the 16-bit offset. Simply by shifting 8 bits instead of 4, the memory
limit would have been 16MB instead of 1MB (well, plus adding 4 device pins
for the extra address lines).

And who was it decided to put memory-mapped video at the 640K location, IBM?

> Had Microsoft never existed, and the previous
> state of affairs continued, we would have been much better off. Had
> someone
> remotely competent at a technical level (rather than a marketing level)
> been
> the one to provide the de-facto desk top standard, we would all be much,
> much, much, better off.
>
> If you were to compare our computing experience to basically any
> alternative
> not involving Microsoft, people would call ours "catastrophic", and
> reasonably
> so.


After a few brief forays into Linux (where there was always some essential
component that didn't work at all, and a few more that worked badly), I was
glad to get back to Windows where it looked much more professional.

(And probably someone normally using Mac OS would say the same about
Windows.)

And while Win32/GDI was a nightmare to work with, I understand that X11
wasn't that much better...

--
Bartc

 
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Seebs
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      01-03-2011
On 2011-01-03, BartC <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Someone at Intel decided to shift a segment address left 4 bits before
> adding the 16-bit offset. Simply by shifting 8 bits instead of 4, the memory
> limit would have been 16MB instead of 1MB (well, plus adding 4 device pins
> for the extra address lines).


> And who was it decided to put memory-mapped video at the 640K location, IBM?


I used machines based on the same hardware, which were compatible enough
to run some PC software, which didn't have that limitation.

> After a few brief forays into Linux (where there was always some essential
> component that didn't work at all, and a few more that worked badly), I was
> glad to get back to Windows where it looked much more professional.


How do you configure a printer that uses TCP/IP?

Hint: It's not a "network" printer. It's a local printer directly connected
to this machine. Using one of COM1, LPT, or... "standard TCP/IP port".

Windows was fairly good at *looking* professional. But there were a couple
of years during which plugging a USB mouse into a NetBSD machine worked
nearly instantaneously and quite reliably, and plugging a USB mouse into a
Windows machine might or might not work at all, and if it did it took ten
seconds or longer to identify and install drivers.

> (And probably someone normally using Mac OS would say the same about
> Windows.)


To some extent, this is certainly true, but baby duck syndrome is not nearly
sufficient to explain some of these things. No amount of Mac users growing
up with it made the Classic MacOS "you must have N+1 megabytes of disk space
for backing store to add 1MB of virtual memory to a system, and most
applications require a lot more memory if you don't have virtual memory
enabled" design decision rational or justifiable. It was broken, whether by
design or otherwise.

> And while Win32/GDI was a nightmare to work with, I understand that X11
> wasn't that much better...


Perhaps it wasn't, but you could always replace it.

The thing is... Once you get past the initial baby duck syndrome and
not-used-to-that, and start looking at the documentation and writeups by
experienced professionals who really do like a given system... Windows
loses. By a gigantic margin. It's genuinely, objectively, awful. It
is unstable, insecure, and actively hostile to long-term code maintenance.

If you look at a Windows app, you can tell when it was written by the APIs
it is built for, because they get replaced every few years. There's Unix
apps I'm still using now that were last significantly updated in the early
90s. Anything new enough to have prototypes typically works.

There's totally some baby-duck syndrome involved, but... There's also some
real differences in design philosophies, and in the long run, differences
in design philosophies *matter*.

Think about the stuff sandeep keeps proposing doing to C. Windows is an
operating system where people like him were given carte blanche.

-s
--
Copyright 2010, all wrongs reversed. Peter Seebach / (E-Mail Removed)
http://www.seebs.net/log/ <-- lawsuits, religion, and funny pictures
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Game_(Scientology) <-- get educated!
I am not speaking for my employer, although they do rent some of my opinions.
 
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Marcin Grzegorczyk
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      01-04-2011
Seebs wrote:
> On 2011-01-03, BartC<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> Someone at Intel decided to shift a segment address left 4 bits before
>> adding the 16-bit offset. Simply by shifting 8 bits instead of 4, the memory
>> limit would have been 16MB instead of 1MB (well, plus adding 4 device pins
>> for the extra address lines).
>>
>> And who was it decided to put memory-mapped video at the 640K location, IBM?

>
> I used machines based on the same hardware, which were compatible enough
> to run some PC software, which didn't have that limitation.


*What* same hardware? 8086-compatible? If so, they certainly had to
have at least a 1M limit, which I think you agree is not a big
improvement over 640K.

And yes, it was IBM who invented the 640K limit in their PC design.
Really, I thought you knew better than trying to blame Microsoft for that!
--
Marcin Grzegorczyk
 
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Seebs
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      01-04-2011
On 2011-01-04, Marcin Grzegorczyk <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> *What* same hardware? 8086-compatible? If so, they certainly had to
> have at least a 1M limit, which I think you agree is not a big
> improvement over 640K.


It was a bit over a 50% improvement.

> And yes, it was IBM who invented the 640K limit in their PC design.
> Really, I thought you knew better than trying to blame Microsoft for that!


Fair enough, but with a saner design, it might have been less of a problem.
Why did so many people have to develop programs to reorganize memory, when
the OS could have done it right in the first place?

-s
--
Copyright 2010, all wrongs reversed. Peter Seebach / (E-Mail Removed)
http://www.seebs.net/log/ <-- lawsuits, religion, and funny pictures
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Game_(Scientology) <-- get educated!
I am not speaking for my employer, although they do rent some of my opinions.
 
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ImpalerCore
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      01-05-2011
On Jan 3, 6:35*pm, Seebs <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On 2011-01-03, BartC <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> > Someone at Intel decided to shift a segment address left 4 bits before
> > adding the 16-bit offset. Simply by shifting 8 bits instead of 4, the memory
> > limit would have been 16MB instead of 1MB (well, plus adding 4 device pins
> > for the extra address lines).
> > And who was it decided to put memory-mapped video at the 640K location, IBM?

>
> I used machines based on the same hardware, which were compatible enough
> to run some PC software, which didn't have that limitation.
>
> > After a few brief forays into Linux (where there was always some essential
> > component that didn't work at all, and a few more that worked badly), I was
> > glad to get back to Windows where it looked much more professional.

>
> How do you configure a printer that uses TCP/IP?
>
> Hint: *It's not a "network" printer. *It's a local printer directly connected
> to this machine. *Using one of COM1, LPT, or... "standard TCP/IP port".
>
> Windows was fairly good at *looking* professional. *But there were a couple
> of years during which plugging a USB mouse into a NetBSD machine worked
> nearly instantaneously and quite reliably, and plugging a USB mouse into a
> Windows machine might or might not work at all, and if it did it took ten
> seconds or longer to identify and install drivers.


It doesn't matter how well Windows was designed or not from a
developer standpoint. Windows won because it had the environment with
the best word processors and spreadsheets, which in my opinion was the
main motivator for the general public to start buying a computer in
the first place. Compare the options on Windows at the time and those
on UNIX and it's no contest. In college at the university UNIX labs I
had access to what, pico, emacs, and vi, and there wasn't any
spreadsheet software; 'xv', matlab, and netscape navigator were the
cool apps. Windows had Word and Excel, which made up the bulk of my
work. Windows has been carried by that inertia from those apps for a
long time.

If some of the early UNIX community were greedy little Scrooges
instead of a bunch of nerds, maybe they would have seen that at the
beginning, all the world was a word processor or a spreadsheet.

Best regards,
John D.
 
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